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Worth reflecting on. Despite all the ways I love twitter, G+, and Facebook and have gained from them, there are times that I think social media has, on the whole, done damage to my life and to my productivity.
 
Nice post from +Joe Kraus on how we are encouraging a culture of distraction, what the ramifications are, and what we can do about it. (via +gopi Kallayil) #mindfulness
A few weeks ago I gave this rough presentation on a topic called “SlowTech”. I wanted to cover three things. We are creating and encouraging a culture of distraction where we are increasingly disconne...
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Having a social life reduces productivity, regardless of the medium used to socialize. This trade off isn't inherently bad or good, as long as it is taken mindfully. Remember, being too productive comes with its own set of disadvantages.
 
Definitely has to me, but I am professionally unable to ignore it. So I keep working on finding a method to maintain a balance.
 
Two decades ago my mother passed away. She had no real idea what had become of her school and childhood friends. No pictures of family hundreds of miles away. No quick communications with sisters and brothers. Though she would have greatly enjoyed it. There is no price we can place on the joy and information we can now share without a second thought.
 
+Tim O'Reilly The only way non-fiction can survive is if you make it entertaining. Human minds are going to be happy, so you have to decide whether that is a business you want to be in.
 
Asked any Egyptians if social media is a waste of time?
 
It is highly dependent on your location and your personal use Mr. MIller. In Syria currently, it is the norm. Reading a book, playing a game with another person, listening to the radio, listening to a village story teller, they are all the same and always have been. Educational, entertaining, and socially important.
 
Kind of why I restricted myself to one and only one social network when G+ hit.
 
I found when I was teaching that distractions for students (and myself for that matter) run deeper than just logging in; it was difficult to get students to focus on complex books or long articles to the extent that discussions tended to be elementary. Even if I stressed a kind of value-added or entertainment aspect to the texts, they'd be ignored in favor of synopses. The result is that an inordinately complex world becomes simplified, and animal extinctions, global warming, national slaughters, and so forth become themselves distractions, the better to be ignored. We increasingly live in a kill/delete/block society. I realize I'm not saying anything new, but these issues are different when you live them as issues, when you try to move within, not beyond, the surface of things. We're too easily entertained by Ted, for example, where issues are often so bizarrely illustrated, that the illustration style takes on a life of its own, suturing the complexity beneath.
 
Very true. We should all have some discipline, limit our time spent on these social media, and get back on doing some work... Wait, what are we doing right now? Still posting?!
 
really? more than Usenet did? I wasted SOO many hours on usenet (even before I was old enough to work out what uu-encoding is and why you'd want it... ;-) Maybe I already learnt my lesson?
 
Things are what they are, tools or timesinks, up to the person using them. Take for example twitter. For me - as a designer on a field that is both evolving and of broad scope - it is essential for gaining access to new interesting information, articles and networking. To others it is a tool for organizing revolutions. To some, a hookup to the life of celebrities and what is hot/hip/current.

From the point of pure productivity they do disrupt and interrupt but I do not see it as a bad thing as long as it does not evolve into an addiction.

People should not link just social media use with shortened attention spans, I think that has been more broadly influenced during the last three decades by the revolution that is the digitalization of information and communications (and before that television).

Whole societies have for some time now had near instantaneous access to insane amounts of data. It is a sea of mostly irrelevant information that is constantly changing. With social media this sea has become in part people produced and even more personal and also fragmented. Culture of sharing where your standing is not just determined by your interests but also by what you feed in, the relevance and also the entertainment value of the information in your messages.

What all of this has lead to is the societally accepted worship of fresh information. Bits and bytes like that are the new form of gossip and stories told around campfire, the only thing that has changed is that it is now accessible 100% of the time, the imagery more powerful and vivid (pictures, videos).

People are looking for that kick that they get from finding and seeing something new (anything really). This feeds our innate habits. That is what leads to internet addiction, it is not the data itself but the changing nature of it and the mechanisms built in to us through evolution, our nervous system rewarding itself. Always the new and next thing around the corner, just click refresh or F5 or glance at the automatically updated feed of info on the screen of your smartphone.
 
+Alan Sondheim you're touching on a very basic quality of the brain, its plasticity. Your brain will, over time, be good at doing what you practice. So if you practice short text, interrupts and shallow thinking, that's what it'll be great at doing. And of course vice versa; so if you're into social media, don't forget to do some serious reading as well.
Nicholas Carr covered this in a great article in Wired http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/05/ff_nicholas_carr/all/1
 
+Tim O'Reilly nonsense! There is stress associated with the increasing flow of information, but you are doing a great service in curating and propagating valuable information. Taking time out for a mind-body practice is essential, but the era of the hidden retreat of higher learning is past and it does not serve to romancify it as it CANNOT scale to 7+ billion! Blessings dear Tim.
 
Ha! Maybe romanticize was the word I was looking for . . . humility 101
 
and yet you post it on a social media site ... :)
 
I think it's because the "social media" phenomenon is divergent rather than convergent. It just pulls us apart in a big social gas rather than helping us find collectives. Just a fad.
 
Social media makes me less productive, yet helps create and cement relationships of huge personal and professional value. #socialmedia  
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